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Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

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Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by Ivan on Thu Jan 08, 2015 5:06 pm

First topic message reminder :

Most people who follow a particular religion do so because of geography. If you’re born in Iran or Indonesia, the odds are that you’ll be a Muslim. If you’re born in Spain or Italy, you’ll as likely as not be a Catholic. In Germany, you'll probably be a Catholic if you grow up in Cologne, Mainz or Bavaria, but a Protestant if you are raised in another part of the country. I suppose many of us aren’t able to detach ourselves from the conditioning we’ve received when young, but I still find it hard to accept that otherwise rational people will believe things that there is no logical reason to believe.

Virgin birth? Can you really believe that? How about resurrection, a fantasy that the early Christian Paul wrote about? Is it any coincidence that in his native Tarsus there were inscriptions calling Herakles, who died and descended into Hades, a divine saviour? The legend has it that Herakles came back to life in due course; does that sound familiar? And then there’s an angel called Gabriel popping in for a chat with Muhammad in his cave, while another angel, this time called Moroni, told Joseph Smith where to find some gold plates. A lot of people really believe all this nonsense.

The three Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – all teach that unquestioned faith is a virtue. Many protagonists assert that every word in the Bible or the Qur’an must be believed as the literal truth. The danger then is that some followers of those faiths read the more violent parts of the Old Testament, or the verses of the Qur’an which date from after Muhammad’s flight to Medina, and then interpret the requirements of their religion accordingly.

I wouldn’t dream of claiming that atheists don’t commit atrocities, for nationalism or some other political ideology, or just because they’re insane (although the latter often suffer from religious mania). But isn’t the idea of encouraging people to believe absurdities the first step on the road to committing atrocities such as 9/11, 7/7 and the Charlie Hebdo massacre?
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by snowyflake on Fri Nov 13, 2015 3:47 pm

So the answer is, Yes, but with the reservation that you can make someone believe an absurdity and make them perform something good.

That was YOUR statement which you posted as a refutation of Voltaire's statement. So in other words, so long as you perform good things believing absurdities (like belief in god) is ok. I actually don't have too much of a problem with this. There are lots of deluded people who do good things. They aren't the ones I'm worried about.

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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Fri Nov 13, 2015 7:49 pm

polyglide wrote:Dr, Sheldon,
                I can well understand what Voltaire is all about. So the answer is, Yes,

by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD Yesterday at 8:50 am
Voltaire's premise is already established IMHO.

I seriously doubt you have read Voltaire but I'm glad you accept my summation of this thread, QED..
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Sat Nov 14, 2015 9:04 am

Another massive terrorist attack in Paris, estimates are up to 120 dead. Most likely the terrorist were ISIS religious fascists, though as yet no group has claimed responsibility. Voltaire's premise may have been chillingly fulfilled yet again.

Quran (2:191-193) - "And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief or unrest] is worse than killing...
but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful.   And fight them until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah] and worship is for Allah alone.

Now in case we get Polyglide coming over all self righteous about superior Christianity....

England and Wales
The common law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel were abolished by the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008

and the penalty??

In 1656, the Quaker James Naylor was sentenced to flogging, branding and the piercing of his tongue by a red-hot poker by the Second Protectorate Parliament.

Hmmm, I think we're underselling secularism, and humanism in particular..
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by polyglide on Sat Nov 14, 2015 10:13 am

snowyflake,
Just who do you obtain your mind reading ability from, cards, a ball or Satan.

The fact that a person can be manipulated for both good and bad as a statement in no way indicates that I believe one is good and one is bad it is purely a statement of fact.
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by polyglide on Sat Nov 14, 2015 10:21 am

Dr, Sheldon,
I do believe you made a case out for the horror of inflicting the nuclear weapons on Japan.

Involved would be children, pregnant women, old and young innocent people of all ages and denominations, all going about their normal life, many not interested nor responsible for the war and all wiped out along with others mutated in the most horendous fashion and whose children have suffered from radiation etc; for over 50 years and still the problems exist.

Now give me one example in history to beat the depravity of that.
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Sun Nov 15, 2015 4:20 pm

polyglide wrote:Dr, Sheldon,
                 I do believe you made a case out for the horror of inflicting the nuclear weapons on Japan.

That's correct, and you haven't addressed that case at all, just offered the blatantly obvious assertion that innocent people were killed. It appears you hadn't noticed the Japanese started a relentless and barbaric war years before this against several different nations, killing, torturing, and raping without compunction.  

Polyglide wrote:Involved would be children, pregnant women, old and young innocent people of all ages and denominations,
Have you ever read what the Japanese imperial army did when they sacked the Chinese capital of Nanking? Even the most conservative estimates have rapes at around 80000, women as old as 80 and as young 8 and even pregnant women were not spared. This is without how they treated the prisoners that they captured, both military and civilian.

Polyglide wrote:all going about their normal life, many not interested nor responsible for the war
Unlike the civilians the Japanese murdered, raped and tortured in cold blood you mean? This is asinine nonsense man, you really ought to try and get a cursory knowledge of the historical context in which the bombings took place.

Polyglide wrote:and all wiped out along with others mutated in the most horendous fashion and whose children have suffered from radiation etc; for over 50 years and still the problems exist.
Yes, but no less terrible than the prolonged suffering of the victims of the Japanese, who started this brutal military campaign to dominate the region years before. What do you suggest should have been used, a sternly worded letter?

Polygide wrote:Now give me one example in history to beat the depravity of that.
 
The aptly named "Raped of Nanking" for a start, where the Japanese methodically and in cold blood spent several weeks murdering, torturing, and raping the trapped and unarmed citizens. Women as young as eight and as old as 80 were not spared, and even pregnant women were rapped and there were independent witnesses to many cases of babies being bayoneted and pregnant women being cut open and have the unborn foetuses torn from their wombs.

Or how about the Inquisition, easily an act of depravity worse than the bombings, and spanning years of cruelty without any justification at all, and based solely on religious bigotry and ignorance. Or the crusades for that matter. Or how about the Nazis holocaust that methodically and pitilessly murdered tens of millions in cold blood. Then there was the Burma railway, the siege of Stalingrad, and countless individual acts of depraved barbarism by religious terrorists we're still seeing today. I know you have an astonishing depth of ignorance on a wide range of topics, but even you surely can't be this ignorant of the years of depravity the Japanese inflicted on multiple countries prior to these two bombs being dropped, or the fact that they had made the allies pay a huge toll in human life for every inch of land they captured, and doggedly refused to surrender, even after the first bomb was dropped.
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by marcolucco on Sun Nov 15, 2015 11:56 pm

Hello snowyflake -

I think that the discussion should properly be about those who believe in absurdities being capable of committing atrocities. I think that the gullible are not necessarily good persuaders. For example, those who get youths to blow themselves up do not necessarily believe the fictions they sell. When I visited Russia in deep communist times, I discovered that communists did not endorse communism; they used it.

I believe that religion is a useful tool for the thoroughly wicked. Unfortunately it is also of benefit to the bereaved, the lonely and the sincere. Our old friend chess who had a personal friendship with God was undoubtedly a really good person.

My best wishes.

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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Mon Nov 16, 2015 9:55 am

A valid point about religious being used as a generic term for a group that is far from homogenous.  Even among believers of ostensibly the same religion there are widely differing beliefs of course, and it's a fact that people use religion cynically for their own ends. Even people who genuinely believe, paradoxically. 

A note of caution though is we risk validating the common logical fallacy "the no true Scotsman" fallacy, by endorsing the idea that bad theists are by definition not theists. The problem is that both bible and Koran contain many texts that justify, endorse,  and even in some cases enthusiastically advocate atrocities.  

The answer is to seperate church and state,  and enact laws that protect basic human rights of liberty and free expression for everyone. As blind faith is a very dangerous idea, whether it be religious, ideological, political,  or whatever.  Subjugation of your own reason to blindly adhere to a set of belief and ideals is very dangerous.

Perhaps the worst and most pernicious absurdity is the idea that we are not and should not be treated equally by the law.
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by marcolucco on Mon Nov 16, 2015 10:44 am

Thanks for your note of caution, DSC. I am in fact particularly cautious as to the labels I give theists, bad or good. I am also a Scot.

"Perhaps the worst and most pernicious absurdity is the idea that we are not and should not be treated equally by the law."

Among the many absurdities it is a tough task to single one as superlatively bad. Those who truly believe in a god and are willing to serve it and pretend to "love" it are walking down the road to atrocities. Many don't commit atrocities, of course, but as you point out the "Good Books" advocate slaughter. What sane person would propose that we should not "suffer a witch to live" ?

The events of Paris took place because of and not in spite of religion. The idiot girls who rush off to marry lunatic jihadists have been groomed from birth to be receptive to gospels of hate. Their parents would dispute this, of course, but read, for instance, the Surah of Light in the Koran and we hear God advocating that a husband should beat his wife (or wives) if she is disobedient. It is hard to believe the builder of the Universe (albeit his task partially complete) would advocate that humans should display such primitive traits. Of course an Arab trader would give such advice.

Seeing an old, niveous friend here, I thought I might drop by. I hope I have not interrupted for too long the magnus intercursus going on with your gliding companion. Best wishes.
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Mon Nov 16, 2015 11:51 am

That exchange is ongoing and it seems to be as relentless as it is ultimately fruitless.  Your interuption was like Snowyflake's contributions a most welcome change. 

At least I get to closely re-examine my own ideas and thought process even if it is only to endlessly refute spurious logical fallacies and creationist clichés.  

Good to see you posting,  even if it is infrequently.
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Nov 16, 2015 12:22 pm

Tribalism is alive and well in the modern World.
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Mon Nov 16, 2015 12:39 pm

Inevitably so, as there are demonstrably strong evolutionary advantages to tribalism. This doesn't make it just,  fair, or moral. Though I'd be wary of dismissing an idea as spurious just because it appears to be held within a group.  Rather we should judge ideas individually and on their own merits.
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by polyglide on Mon Nov 16, 2015 1:23 pm

Dr, Sheldon,
I am not interested in any other religion than Christianity and as I attempted to explain that God will and did act according to the circumstances regarding all the events recorded in the BIble.

You kick yourself in the head when you say the use of the nuclear bomb was justified and yet an omnipotent is not, in your opinion, intelligent enough to decide when and how any situation should be dealt with.
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by marcolucco on Mon Nov 16, 2015 6:20 pm

               " I am not interested in any other religion than Christianity "

Then why not display some knowledge of your chosen field? The ancient religions- those that predate Christianity - are worthy of study. It would be interesting to know your thoughts on the filoque controversy, the Great Schism, transubstantiation, the hypostatic union, hyperdulia..... even the naming of angels .....
There are some interesting texts on the historical authenticity of Jesus. Don't you find it curious that a man spent thirty years as a God in hiding
and emerged with nothing to say about mathematics or advances in medicine or even history; his view on stoning was not to condemn it but to approve it in the hands of someone sinless, such as his mum. Though he is often seen as good - (we have no idea what height he was, nor what he looked like, though we do know such details of older historical characters) - he wickedly said that he would divide families and selfishly told followers to ignore their wives and children just to tramp along with him. And do you REALLY imagine that about 70 years after the great Julius Caesar was assassinated Mr. Christ revitalised a stinking corpse? That feat would certainly have made its report to Rome. But Lazarus just got up from the dead and passed into the void of history.... to die again. Jesus also ignored his family who were sceptical about his abilities - a prophet in his own land is never recognized! A handy aphorism for a charlatan!

I believe, polyglide, that you are interested in your own version of Christianity. You invent attitudes for the deity and argue from a position of strength that seems suspiciously based on ignorance. But I am happy to have my suspicions confounded.
Best regards.
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Mon Nov 16, 2015 6:32 pm

polyglide wrote:Dr, Sheldon,
                I am not interested in any other religion than Christianity and as I attempted to explain that God will and did act according to the circumstances regarding all the events recorded in the BIble.

Bully for you, relevance?

Polyglide wrote: You kick yourself in the head when you say the use of the nuclear bomb was justified
Not quite what I did though was it, and your dishonest attempt to paraphrase me without any context, or any attempt by you to address what I actually posted speaks for itself, your posts are pathologically dishonest I'm afraid. Perhaps you think we should have let the Japanese free to re-arm and continue their barbaric march of rapine, torture, and murder across the whole of Asia? See I can dishonestly use hyperbole as well, though I'd appreciate an answer of course, but sadly won't get one.

Polyglide wrote: and yet an omnipotent is not, in your opinion, intelligent enough to decide when and how any situation should be dealt with.
I've never said that, you are either confused or lying again, why must you continually misrepresent what others post? Your inability to grasp the concept of theodicy, and the inherent contradictions within traditional Christian claims for their deity that it addresses, is posted in enough threads for anyone to see. I am happy here as I have always been to defer to a man who encapsulated this before humans had created Christianity.

Epicurus 341–270 BC:
“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”


Last edited by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Mon Nov 16, 2015 7:25 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Mon Nov 16, 2015 6:37 pm

do you REALLY imagine that about 70 years after the great Julius Caesar was assassinated Mr. Christ revitalised a stinking corpse? That feat would certainly have made its report to Rome. But Lazarus just got up from the dead and passed into the void of history..

A valid point of course, but given how commonplace this was claimed to be in Jerusalem when Jesus is alleged to have died, with almost the entire graveyard of Jerusalem getting up out of their coffins and walking around one wonders they bothered to even mention Lazarus.

I believe, polyglide, that you are interested in your own version of Christianity. You invent attitudes for the deity and argue from a position of strength that seems suspiciously based on ignorance. But I am happy to have my suspicions confounded.
Best regards.

You won't be confounded at all. You seem to have summed his posts up very accurately in a quite short timespan. He's in the business of proselytising, and shows no real interest in honest objective discussion, or even reciprocating the expansive posts of others.
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by marcolucco on Mon Nov 16, 2015 8:46 pm

A valid point of course, but given how commonplace this was claimed to be in Jerusalem when Jesus is alleged to have died, with almost the entire graveyard of Jerusalem getting up out of their coffins and walking around one wonders they bothered to even mention Lazarus.

Well, when Christ thoughtfully folded up his funeral garments before leaving the tomb, naked presumably, his apologists did say that many corpses of good men rose and walked around. This is possibly what later caused the Wandering of the Nations that led to Rome's downfall.
But as Einstein said, one is enough. Dead-living Lazarus presenting himself to Tiberius would have surely entered the records of Tacitus and Suetonius and the Younger Pliny would possibly have made it his star letter.


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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Mon Nov 16, 2015 10:06 pm

Unless you take the view of some of the credulous, that making it too believable would lessen the prize somehow. Or that a demonic Satan is tricking us into not to believing by making it appear absurdly unlikely or even idiotic.

Both compelling and reasonable arguments, I'm sure we can agree. Rolling Eyes
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by marcolucco on Mon Nov 16, 2015 10:45 pm

" Or that a demonic Satan is tricking us into not to believing by making it appear absurdly unlikely or even idiotic. "

The existence of Satan is even more intriguing than the existence of God. The Battle of Heaven where Satan was thrown "down" is of course taken from the idea that heaven is an up place. Jupiter threw Vulcan down too, laming him in the process. I am happy that we have reached a century where our governors don't require humans to be sacrificed to God, but the atavistic insanity of our Islamic jihadis suggests that tempus hasn't quite fugit.
It is a great pity that we have no Christian advocate here, capable of giving us the scholastic view of an Aquinas. Intelligent believers do exist and it would be nice to hear from one of them.



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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Mon Nov 16, 2015 11:02 pm

marcolucco wrote:The existence of Satan is even more intriguing than the existence of God. The Battle of Heaven where Satan was thrown "down" is of course taken from the idea that heaven is an up place.

Intriguing indeed, you'd expect the hole that Newton's theories put in that would have caused the same kind of angst and denials that Darwin's have, but they seem largely oblivious to the irony. Newton certainly didn't appear to suffer the same epiphany that Darwin's slow realisation of the consequences of evolution caused to his religious beliefs. Then again gravity and physics isn't quite as red in tooth and claw as evolution, much harder to picture a benign omnipotent creator when studying the life-cycle of Cochliomyia hominivorax.
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by marcolucco on Tue Nov 17, 2015 8:54 am

Intriguing indeed, you'd expect the hole that Newton's theories put in that would have caused the same kind of angst and denials that Darwin's have, but they seem largely oblivious to the irony. Newton certainly didn't appear to suffer the same epiphany that Darwin's slow realisation of the consequences of evolution caused to his religious beliefs.



I don't believe Darwin experienced too much of a tremor in his religious beliefs. Endorsing his findings leads only to the view that Genesis is beautifully metaphoric rather than appallingly literal.  Newton was a clever but fallible human being who modestly suggested that he was no more than a boy picking up a shinier pebble on the beach while the vast ocean of truth lay undiscovered before him. Einstein, who admired Newton, was upset when he had to conclude that Newton's theories required correction. They are fine as long as we don't move towards colossal speeds. The fact that they solve all our movement problems about our home planet suggested  - wrongly - that they are unassailably true. I think our ignorance is greater than our knowledge, hence our reliance - still - on gods for explanations. Science will eventually uncover truths greater than anything Christ revealed - ISIS permitting, of course.

We hardly need Newton to see the absurdity of Christ standing on a hill to have himself propelled heavenwards into blank space. If he had managed, miraculously, to generate escape velocity, the curvature of the hill may well have granted him immortality in that he would move into an elliptical orbit and continue as a satellite; or if he was unlucky in his exit angle he'd have plunged hyperbolically into deep space, still continuing today, somewhere.  By a Vatican Decree in 1950 of Pius xii it was declared certain that Mary, too, was assumed bodily into heaven. Absurdities become certainties when we believe there is creator, of soul and substance, doing little more than watching us all, checking to see how many lies we tell and noting down exactly what we steal. And why? So that he might "reward" and "punish" us. Our Islamic cousins who have borrowed most of Judaic and Christian lore - with Arabic adjustments - believe that Allah constantly re-fleshes the already burned bodies of the unjust, only to burn them some more. That is a wonderful job if you can get it. It is indeed a miracle that intelligence often accepts this fantasy.






Then again gravity and physics isn't quite as red in tooth and claw as evolution, much harder to picture a benign omnipotent creator when studying the life-cycle of Cochliomyia hominivorax. [/quote]
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by snowyflake on Tue Nov 17, 2015 11:00 am

oftenwrong wrote:Tribalism is alive and well in the modern World.

You would know, Big Chief Crazy Horse. Cool
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by snowyflake on Tue Nov 17, 2015 11:02 am

polyglide wrote:snowyflake,
                Just who do you obtain your mind reading ability from, cards, a ball or Satan.

                The fact that a person can be manipulated for both good and bad as a statement in no way indicates that I believe one is good and one is bad it is purely a statement of fact.

Sorry I am incapable of reading your mind. I can't read anything that small without my glasses.
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by marcolucco on Tue Nov 17, 2015 11:07 am

Greetings to you Snowy - I see that you have lost none of your sharpness. I Very Happy trust you are finding fewer toenails here as we massacre Voltaire.
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by polyglide on Tue Nov 17, 2015 11:18 am

snowyflake,
What you realy mean is that you cannot understand the simple terms that are relevant and attempt to prove this by insults which you do very well.
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by polyglide on Tue Nov 17, 2015 11:36 am

marolucco,
Diatribes are used by Dr, Sheldon and I would have thought one using them was one too many.

All the references to Einstein, Newton and Darwin have been documented numerous times and are familiar to anyone with an interest in the creation of all things.

I believe in a ceator, God of the Bible and I am well aware of the apparent discrepancies involved in many parts of the Bible along with what we humans cannot grasp as being possible or probable but that does not make them impossible when taken that our limitations [ which could be 1% of the possible intelligence within the universe] are taken into account.

The alternative to a creator if based on all the relevant information to date has far less credibility.
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Tue Nov 17, 2015 11:52 am

polyglide wrote:snowyflake,
               What you realy mean is that you cannot understand the simple terms that are relevant and attempt to prove this by insults which you do very well.  

You really still can't grasp that really still really has two l's, and this is really annoying given how many times you've been told, and how really simple it really is to check.


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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Tue Nov 17, 2015 11:56 am

Polyglide wrote:[size=47]The alternative to a creator if based on all the relevant information to date has far less credibility.[/size]

There you go ladies and gents, three steps from scientific fact to magic based on bronze age superstition being the most credible explanation polyglide can think of for. .......well everything. He even manages to sound condescending when he delivers his sententious sagacity for our edification. Don't bother quizzing him for anything deeper than goddidit though, it turns out to be a very dry well the deeper you go.

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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Tue Nov 17, 2015 12:05 pm

polyglide wrote:snowyflake,
               What you realy mean is that you cannot understand the simple terms that are relevant and attempt to prove this by insults which you do very well.  


Said the pot to the kettle. 

You asked for someone intelligent to join what you laughingly called this debate. I took no offence as I'm fully aware of my own intellectual limitations,  but now two intelligent people have joined. Be careful what you wish for seems apropos. .....
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Tue Nov 17, 2015 12:17 pm

Interesting point about Darwin actually. Nice to have an informed objective view for a change. There is a film out about him called paradoxically 'creation'.   LINK criticised by some for historical inaccuracies, but it looks ok, perhaps worth seeing. Nice change of pace from the recent spate of ghastly biblical myths made into film. Even if it is 6 years old now. Still better than bronze age myths with CGI's.
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by marcolucco on Tue Nov 17, 2015 12:39 pm

Yes - I believe I've seen the film your refer to. As for biblical and historical epics, it depends if you go for entertainment or to see the factual errors. There are some historical epics that are hopelessly inaccurate but very watchable. Voltaire would never have seen them! He thought that the creation of some God was a necessity - that's an interesting line of thought.

Incidentally your post has just caused the obliteration of my longish reply to polyglide. Perhaps it was divine intervention.
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Tue Nov 17, 2015 1:01 pm

Ah my apologies.  I'm posting on my phone and so am obliged to keep it brief. Expansive response tend to be ignored by polyglide anyway. After a while you'll notice he simply repeats the same creationist clichés and endlessly used argumentum ad ignorantiam, one of his favourites is the Kalam cosmological argument,  though he doesn't know it of course.
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by polyglide on Tue Nov 17, 2015 1:24 pm

Dr, Sheldon & others,
I was under the impression that the post was about absurdities and their possible effect.

I have given a very clear reply.

Why anyone should bring the Bible or any religion into this matter I know not.

Anyone that can be manipulated into believing an absurdity can be lead fro either good bad or indifference.

A parent can say to a child the Bogey man will get you if you do not eat your dinner etc;

I know Darwin did not say it so it cannot be true.

Darwin, Newton and many other such people would not have the same opinion on many matters if they had the same information that is available today.

I have given my answer to the question perhaps a sensible appropriate reply to the question could be forthcomming instead of the perpetual attempt to prove that you can quote other people.
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Tue Nov 17, 2015 2:09 pm

Religion and the bible are salient because they are rife with absurdity, I'd have thought that obvious.
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Tue Nov 17, 2015 2:12 pm

Polyglide wrote:Darwin, Newton and many other such people would not have the same opinion on many matters if they had the same information that is available today.
 And you know this how exactly? For someone who constantly accuses others of attempting to mind read this is hilariously ironic. Oddly though I'm inclined to believe you may be right.  As I doubt either man would entertain the superstition of religion with the progress science has made in refuting it's claims.
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by polyglide on Tue Nov 17, 2015 3:09 pm

Dr, Sheldon,
I can think of no intelligent person that would think the people mentioned would not have a different view of today.

You say the Bible has absurdities but based on what? everything in the Bible has a meaning because we are unable to appreciate them is not the Bibles fault.
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Tue Nov 17, 2015 3:43 pm

Good to know as I agreed with you. When will you learn to read a post properly. 

My claim that the bible has absurdities is based on the absurdities in it. I have addressed the absurdly idiotic idea that the fault for misunderstanding a message from an omnipotent omniscient being lying not with it but with fallible humans already. It's too silly to take seriously.  

You never said what you were claiming Darwin and Newton would view differently, or how you claim to know this? 

Obviously I think being scientists they'd abandon religious superstition in light of so many of its claims being scientifically refuted.
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by marcolucco on Tue Nov 17, 2015 6:05 pm

Hello polyglide,

This is my third attempt at replying to you; I've no idea where the other two went. Perhaps it is a warning from celestial quarters.
I don't generally deal in diatribes.
Apologies if my reference to Einstein et al covers old ground for you. I learn by experience.

I believe in a creator, God of the Bible.
It is a conclusion many come to and seems to fill in the gaps in human knowledge. I once believed in the Biblical being myself. In these matters one cannot say with 100% certainty what is and what isn't - sometimes one's choice emanates from a feeling of what is right.
My own area - or one of them - is probability theory. When you say: "The alternative to a creator - if based on all the relevant information to date - has far less credibility" you are applying common sense to logic and reaching what for most is a sensible conclusion: intelligence and complex laws exist, ergo a creator. Of course this does NOT entitle one to distinguish between the various gods of various beliefs.

The problem with this sensible probabilistic approach is that it employs a methodology that doesn't work when the population approaches infinity. Usually we would discard the possibility of an event with a ridiculously low probability. This is simply another way of saying that a number times zero is zero. When we are looking at cosmic events over a indeterminate time period then it is unsafe to conclude that an event with a very low probability would not occur - it could. The other risk of using common sense logic, so indispensable in earthly affairs, is that common sense is often wrong when we deal with such things as sub-atomic particles. The people who offered the proofs for the existence of God had no inkling of the absurdities of atomic physics. Why would they?

The God you derive from logical principles therefore is dependent on flawed logic; he is also dependent on geography, for were you a devout Arab the God you settled for would not necessarily be the Christian one; and a staunch Jew would opt for another deity. It is possible that some event -seemingly miraculous to us in our primitive ignorance- did occur to generate life; the nature of the cause is beyond our science. I see no reason to think that the original cause is the being who calls himself a jealous God in the Bible. Of course there is a small chance he might well be but in that case, if he's an intelligent entity, he will accept my unsuccessful attempts at discovering him with the limited tools he allegedly gave me. The Bible itself is no proof.

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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by marcolucco on Tue Nov 17, 2015 6:17 pm

Why anyone should bring the Bible or any religion into this matter I know not.

                             Can I be of assistance, polyglide?
                             
                             We are told that a supernatural agency persuaded Abraham to murder his son. Abraham went ahead and at the last minute was stopped. The lesson is that if you truly BELIEVE that God wants you to kill, then you do it.

Turn the pages to the 21st century and listen to the voice of God telling young jihadists to go out and commit atrocities.

If you think this doesn't apply to Christianity, then scan the centuries for burnings and torture in the name of God.  When knights asked a cardinal how they would know the Cathars they were out to kill, in God's name, they were told that God would know his own. Kill everyone. They killed because they had first been persuaded that their beliefs were correct.

If you can persuade someone to believe in absurdities, such as you find in Holy Books, it is a short step to atrocities.
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by marcolucco on Tue Nov 17, 2015 6:50 pm

.... Kalam cosmological argument

A rose by any other name. First causes arguments invariably take an axiom and establish a correct conclusion from that axiom - but the axiom is by no means a truth. This used to be called begging the question in days when Euclidean proofs were necessary pieces of a child's education. Nowadays people use the expression to mean "raising or posing the question."

I've no problems with people arguing in whatever way they want. Pliny said that no book is so bad you can learn nothing from it - the same (I think) applies to debates. I am always intrigued when someone surprises me with a piece of arcane information. I look forward to seeing an example of an argumentum ad ignorantiam.
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Re: Do you agree with Voltaire that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”?

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Tue Nov 17, 2015 7:08 pm

marcolucco wrote:Of course this does NOT entitle one to distinguish between the various gods of various beliefs.

An intelligent yet obvious point, I have made it many times that deism is *not theism, but I'm afraid Polyglide is blind to such facts thus far. I have pointed out many times that even if you are prepared, as he clearly is, to use common logical fallacies like argumentum ad ignorantiam, it still gets you no closer to Jesus than Zeus, Apollo, Thor, or any one of many thousands of gods humans have created.

The problem with this sensible probabilistic approach is that it employs a methodology that doesn't work when the population approaches infinity. Usually we would discard the possibility of an event with a ridiculously low probability. This is simply another way of saying that a number times zero is zero. When we are looking at cosmic events over a indeterminate time period then it is unsafe to conclude that an event with a very low probability would not occur - it could.

Sorry to sound like a broken record but I've covered this one as well, Polyglide is parroting creationist rhetoric, but since he doesn't understand it refutations just bead up, and then roll off. Granted my knowledge of maths is mediocre, and probability theory zero, but I tried nonetheless to explain that random events repeated enough times over a long enough period would certainly produce complexity, and that given the age and size of the universe, even assuming it is the only one, then the likelihood of complex life developing increases exponentially. Now since life exists, well what matter the odds? Adding supernatural magic based on bronze age superstition doesn't decrease the odds it increases them. All falls on deaf years I'm afraid, as you're dealing with someone who genuinely thinks 100% certainty in his beliefs validates them.

Polyglide wrote:The other risk of using common sense logic, so indispensable in earthly affairs, is that common sense is often wrong when we deal with such things as sub-atomic particles. The people who offered the proofs for the existence of God had no inkling of the absurdities of atomic physics. Why would they?

Sound erudite reasoning, eloquently and objectively posited, he'll either ignore it completely or dismiss it out of hand.

The God you derive from logical principles therefore is dependent on flawed logic; he is also dependent on geography, for were you a devout Arab the God you settled for would not necessarily be the Christian one;  and a staunch Jew would opt for another deity. It is possible that some event -seemingly miraculous to us in our primitive ignorance- did occur to generate life; the nature of the cause is beyond our science. I see no reason to think that the original cause is the being who calls himself a jealous God in the Bible. Of course there is a small chance he might well be but in that case, if he's an intelligent entity, he will accept my unsuccessful attempts at discovering him with the limited tools he allegedly gave me. The Bible itself is no proof.

This is all very reasonable and rational, and I have tried myself many times to explain precisely these flaws in his subjective stance, but alas I fear you might as well feed strawberries to a donkey. Well done though, I doubt you can know how much I have tried to expound reason after so many decent intelligent posters fell away under his relentless repetition of his dogma. I really hope you stick around, and it's great to see Snowyflake posting again, her intelligence was sorely missed.
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